If you’d have asked me ten years ago how I felt about aging, I would have told you, “I’m looking forward to my body showing my travels.” I always found something so lovely in the a person’s face can change over time, showing laughter, or sometimes worry…like merit patches sewn on a Scout sash. I can hear my own answer, and it’s something just like that.
“I’ll gladly wear a record of a life lived fully.”
A couple nights ago, my husband held up his phone to show a picture to me. It was of us, at the beach, from when we first met. “Wow,” he said with a grin. “We look so different, now.” I glanced his direction, playfully game to see his “Exhibit A”…and then my eyes focused. it’s even possible that I frowned a little. “He’s right.” I thought, “we look…fantastic”. It’s like us-us, but with Photoshop. I was not expecting to feel hurt by that. Me, the body positive feminist that I am…that I’ve always identified as, was jealous of old me.
When did this ageist bullshit develop?
Sad as it is, my inside answer to that was almost instantaneous. When the well-branded wrinkle serum that appeared in your bathroom a year or two ago. When you had the realization that wearing form fitting clothes makes you uncomfortable, and now that you’re thinking about it, has made you uncomfortable for a while. It’s happens with the slow dwindle of cashiers asking to see your drivers license, instead opting to hit that one register button that bypasses the prompt.
I realized this week that I’m actually afraid of this. I’m afraid that instead of laugh lines, I’ll sport frown lines. It’s lame putting on your favorite jeans only to realize that the way you look and the way you feel suddenly don’t line up like normal. It’s hard to accept that a sore joint may just stay that way and it’s weird that all the actresses I can easily name are now part of the supporting cast.
I need to stop. I am happier inside my own skin than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m healthy, strong, and when I look in the mirror, I’m at peace with who I see. My life isn’t Instaperfect. There’s squabbles, cat vomit, and random black hairs on my chest (seriously, how did you grow so fast?). But it’s real and it’s good and it’s filled with all the emotions a heart can hold. As grateful as that makes me, as lucky as I feel, the nasty, sticky truth is that sometimes I wish I were younger. I’m learning to live with that. To be okay with being just a little afraid of that. To own the human I am, not the human I imagined I would be. It’s a process, it’s a journey, and it takes time.
Time that I’m starting to see.